Syrian regime, allies advance against IS in Deir az-Zour
Syrian regime troops, supported by Russian air cover and Iran-backed militias, managed to "storm districts of Deir az-Zour and clear them of IS militants", a Hizballah-affiliate media unit reported on Tuesday.
Regime forces had brought the entire area stretching between Deir az-Zour and Mayadeen under their control following a major military offensive, a Syrian monitor reported.
"These are not desert areas, they are villages along the Euphrates (river) that were IS strongholds," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"The Islamic State group is collapsing under pressure from the regime in Deir az-Zour province," the Britain-based monitor said, adding that IS militants still controlled nearly five neighbourhoods in the city.
The Syrian regime launched its operation in the city last month after breaking a three-year IS siege of the oil-rich province, which borders Iraq.
In northern parts of the province, a US-backed alliance of Syrian and Kurdish fighters announced on Tuesday the full capture of Raqqa, after more than four months of fighting.
The Syrian Democratic Forces said they seized the city's stadium – the militant group's last position in their one-time Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.
However, IS still controls territory in neighbouring regions on the Iraqi side of the border, where they are facing another US-backed offensive by Iraqi pro-government forces.